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Flow Chemistry Applications

Applications of Flow Chemistry and Flow Reactor Systems

Applications of Flow Chemistry

Continuous production of chemical compounds by flow reactor technology has proven to be a major benefit for many applications.  

 

Flow chemistry applications are diverse, with various manufacturing processes requiring precision, control and efficiency of reaction parameters to produce final product at a rate which meets or exceeds demand.  

 

low reactor technology implementation is becoming widespread across a number of different sectors. The two main sectors with multiple applications are fine chemical manufacturing and pharmaceutical production.  

 

As a flow reactor manufacturer, we have spent the last decade developing our reactors to be compatible with bench-top, kilogram and multi-tonne reaction quantities. Our global network continues to ask us, ‘What sorts of chemistry has been done with the Coflore flow reactors?’. The various types of chemistry we have particular expertise and knowledge with, as well as unmatched success with reactor integrations, include: 

 

  • Hydrogenations 

  • Nitrations 

  • Halogenations 

  • Grignard Reactions

Diverse applications, one solution 

 

The aim with any chemical reaction that utilises flow chemistry principles is to establish and optimise the critical conditions of the reaction at R&D scale, which can then be subsequently scaled, transforming the flow reaction into a continuous processing production line. 

Flow chemistry applications continue to evolve as various stakeholders and manufacturing organisations look to reap the benefits of faster reactions, cleaner products, safer chemistry and scalability.  

 

Applications of the technology can often also be at the conceptualisation stage whereby the efficiency and effectiveness of a flow chemical reaction are being developed to ensure the steady-state operation of the reactor has maximum output. AM Technology’s in-house feasibility testing laboratories allow us to work closely with clients at this stage to develop a process for continuous manufacturing at a production scale.  

 

As more and more chemical reactions are transformed into continuous processes, the flow chemistry applications that our customers require include, but are not limited to: 

Academic & Research 

The requirement for R&D work to establish the basic principles of a chemical reaction to occur using flow and as a development tool for drug discovery processes.  

Life Sciences 

Flow chemistry can be applied to the production of peptides and for processes involving biologics such as antigens and antibodies.  

Fine Chemicals 

From custom synthesis to process intensification, hazardous reactions, and multi-stage synthesis, this is one of the most versatile applications of flow chemistry.  

Pharmaceuticals 

Continuous manufacturing in the pharmaceuticals and therapeutics industry integrates flow chemistry across various applications including synthesis of intermediates and APIs, with the ability to telescope multiple processes into a single continuous stream.  

Hydrogenations in flow

Within a typical hydrogenation reaction, the unsaturated organic compound gains hydrogen atoms, with the double or triple bond being converted into a single bond. Often catalysed to ensure the addition of H2 to the substrate, AM Technology recently published work outlining a biocatalytic hydrogenation reaction using the Coflore ACR.  

Nitration in flow chemistry

Nitration flow chemistry application 

 

Commonly used in the synthesis of various organic compounds, nitration reactions involve the introduction of a nitro group into a molecule. Most well-known nitration reactions take place when the nitro group is introduced to an aromatic ring (such as benzene) to produce the output and the water byproduct.  

Flow chemistry in a nitration application involves reagents constantly pumped into the reactor chamber where the aromatic substrate and nitration reagents are catalysed using a strong acid such as sulfuric acid. Due to the highly exothermic nature of many nitration reactions, excellent heat transfer properties are required by the flow reactor to intensify the process safely. 

Hydrogenation in flow chemistry

Hazardous flow chemistry applications 

 

Hydrogenations and nitrations are exothermic and can involve the handling of flammable and/or strong acidic reagents. Through the use of the Coflore reactors, these specific chemical applications are performed in a much safer environment, with the continuous flow of reactants minimising the amount of high-pressure hydrogen gas at any one time as well as mitigating overheating through greatly increased heat transfer efficiency compared to traditional batch reactors.  

Halogenations in flow chemistry 

 

Halogenation reactions are common across many sectors, such as pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. Halogens, including chlorine, bromine, iodine and fluorine, are added to a variety of organic compounds to form a halogenated product:

 

 

 

 

 

Halogenation in flow chemistry v2

Halogens by nature are extremely hazardous and reactive, which is why the reduced exposure to them during flow is advantageous.  

What benefits does flow chemistry bring to its application? 

 

AM Technology has extensive experience with the aforementioned chemical reactions, and the Coflore reactor range provides several benefits that can be reaped for the safer handling feature of a continuous process.  

 

Applications that involve nitrations, hydrogenation and halogenations performed using flow, can benefit from more efficient mass and heat transfer, leading to greater process optimisation and scalability.  

 

For hydrogenations in particular, as a flow chemistry application, the inherently smaller flow reactor working volumes can also result in enhanced mass transfer. This results in better contact between the reactants, hydrogen gas, and the catalyst, improving reaction kinetics and overall efficiency.  

The trialled and tested choice for flow chemistry applications 

 

The Coflore reactor range is a robust and efficient portfolio of platforms for conducting various types of chemistry. Although flow chemistry in general offers advantages in terms of safety, scalability and efficiency, the reactor range at AM Technology is backed with market-leading application knowledge.  

 

Our team of Chemical, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers can work with you to further understand your chemical reaction as well as optimise the parameters for the scale required, which in turn leads you to the most suitable flow reactor. The reactor system can then be adapted and customised to ensure that it meets the needs of your laboratory or industrial environment.  

“One of today's most important tools for modernizing the pharmaceutical industry is a process known as continuous manufacturing”

Director of the FDA’s Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research,

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